Advocacy, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting

Special Needs Parent and Business Owner? My New Journey Begins.

The last 7 years have consisted of intense time management, self-education, college courses, and following a path that I never could have dreamed of. When I was in high school, I loved music and my social life was my priority. I had no direction, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I went to college right out of high school for a semester before realizing that I still had no Idea what I wanted to do. Six months later I found out that I was pregnant with my fist baby. Little did I know, that child would be my answer. She has continued to pour inspiration into my soul. I have taken the life I was given with her and turned it into something positive to help other families who are going through the same things we have gone through.

I gave my heart and soul to the special needs community and their families. I knew that is where I was meant to be. I have made so many amazing connections throughout our journey and it led me to doing a lot of advocacy work. I am a special education advocate, and that is where my passion lies. This is my niche. I have continued to educate myself on the legislation that surrounds special education, and how I can use this knowledge to advocate for the education that every child with disabilities deserves.

I decided over the past couple of months that it was time to dive in and expand what I was doing. I was ready to create my own business, go through the legalities of it and grind. It was time to take all of this passion and turn it into something to help my community. And this, my friends is how Advocate Like a Mother, LLC was born.

People often ask, What is an advocate? Well, an advocate is just that. A person to attend IEP and 504 meetings to advocate for your child’s education. I have used an advocate myself and that is when I realized the value of having someone on your “team” throughout your child’s special education journey. An advocate is another set of eyes and ears throughout the process. An advocate is there to help you understand all of the confusing terminology used during these meetings. And someone to mediate. To help maintain a positive, business relationship between families and educators.

I remember my first IEP meeting. I had no idea what that even meant. All I knew was that I had a child with severe disabilities who needed help so I had to go meet with the school. I had no Idea that I was walking into a meeting with people who were not ready to accommodate my child’s needs, and I left that meeting agreeing to what I thought had my daughters best interest at heart. I was going to need to consult with her doctors to move around her medication and feeding schedule because they did not have a full time nurse on staff. She was not going to have the one to one assistance that she required, and I thought I had no choice but to agree.

When I left that meeting, I made a promise. Not only to Kaydence, but to myself. I was going to throw myself into learning about the special education process. I was going to learn the legalities. I immersed myself in living and breathing special education advocacy, for my own child at first. As time went on, families started reaching out for help. Families needed someone there to advocate for their child. This is when I knew. This is where my passion lies.

Advocate Like A Mother, LLC is now up and running, and I have taken what I know about advocacy, and created a comprehensive website geared towards advocating not just locally, but nation wide. Being able to offer IEP and 504 consultation services to any family who has access to phone and internet.

I feel so blessed to have the love and support of family and friends as I continue this journey that God put before me, and thank you so much to all of our Catching Kaydence followers and fans. We love an appreciate every single one of you!

-Brooke

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Advocate Like a Mother, LLC

Advocate Like a Mother, LLC offers a free consultation to help you understand how an Advocate could help your child receive the education that they deserve.

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Advocacy, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting

What Kind of Parent Medicates Their Child?!

Whoop whoop!!! Right here, this mom! Now, I know that this is a controversial topic to many but, I have no shame, and here is why.

Of course we have to back it up a bit because there was a point in time when Kaydence was between two and three where I felt a great deal of guilt for even considering medicating my child. She was so young. It started out with sleep. Kaydence was only sleeping on average two to three hours per night. At the time, she was connected to a feeding pump close to 24 hours a day. So, if she was up. I was up. I went months, constantly getting up in the middle of the night. (Not to mention I had a new baby on my hands in the midst of this) She would tangle her tubing all around her body/neck. It was a constant battle keeping her safe. This led to extreme anxiety for me. I felt like I had to be constantly watching the video monitor.

And then. My breaking point. We went in for her check up at the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. They did a new evaluation to test where Kaydence was cognitively. I knew what was coming but it was still hard to hear, she had made no progress, and actually regressed over the last 8 months. I thought, how could this be?! She was in intense therapies, seeing 6 therapists a week! Her doctor explained that it was probably directly linked with her lack of sleep and intense ADHD. Her body never stopped. Even in her sleep. Even when she was exhausted her body was in a manic state. I cried and begged for help. We started some doses of medication to help with sleep at night time. First we tried melatonin, which I did not feel so bad about. But when that failed we had to move on to Clonidine, and eventually down the line added Trazodone.

Finally! Her sleep was under control and this momma was able to get the sleep I had been longing for! But of course, one thing leads to another and It became time to address her ADHD we started a dose of tenex, and this was a game changer. She was able to sit still for the first time in 2 years! And then, over the years we added Risperidone for aggression and behaviors, and Lexapro for anxiety, and even more recently a Clonidine patch to further assist with behaviors.

I lived feeling shameful for a long time. I was that mom, the mom who could not handle her kid. The mom that was not strong enough or tough enough to get through it without medication. I felt like I should of tried harder, I should of tried every possible natural supplement.

But! I am here to tell you, you should NEVER feel that way. Do not let the stigmas around medication and mental health bring you down! Stand strong and be confident in the fact that you and only you know your child best. You are and always will be your child’s best advocate. If I sat here and took everyone’s opinion to heart, I would be suffering, but most of all, my child would be suffering. She deserves the best, and while some will say that medicating her is not the best I beg to differ. Without her medication she will not sleep but maybe two hours. She would be unable to control her body, her emotions, and behaviors. Her behaviors include self injury. So, I will stand tall and shout to the mountain tops. I am NOT ashamed. I am NOT a bad mother. I will NOT let others opinions bring me down. I will stand strong and continue to advocate for my child.

Love,

A relatively well rested special needs momma!

-Brooke